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Abu Dhabi holidays register an upturn through the global downturn

Abu Dhabi holidays have reportedly experienced a 2% increase in hotel guest numbers last year. Despite the global economic downturn this is one emirate that managed to draw international interest as well as attracting domestic travel

Abu Dhabi holidays register an upturn through the global downturn
Abu Dhabi holidays have effectively managed to face the global tourism downturn successfully as they reported 2 % increase in hotel guest numbers in 2001.
Despite the sharp declines most of the world’s popular holiday destinations experienced, some 1.54 million guests stayed in Abu Dhabi hotels throughout the burgeoning emirate in 2009, racking up a total of some 4,673,494 guest nights. This meant that guest stays in the final quarter grew by 16% year-on year.
“The year ended on a high with a very successful last quarter driven by major events and an Eid break with strong stay-at-home characteristics,” explained His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA). This increase was mostly due to an UAE hotel guest growth of 43% year-on-year for the month of December alone.
Domestic tourism from the UAE helped underpin Abu Dhabi holidays’ performance accounting for 42% of hotel guests - 650,585 in all - a rise of 26% on the previous year.
“Strong growth in domestic demand made an important contribution to Abu Dhabi’s ability to weather the global tourism industry challenges brought on largely by the global financial crisis and the spread of H1N1,” explained Al Muhairi.
“While the last 12 months have been challenging, as they have for all destinations, we believe growth is a very solid performance in the face of global decline. Over the longer term, we have recorded very strong growth in guests, especially over the past five years with double digit increases every year until 2009. Numbers have doubled since 2004 from 960,000 to over 1.5 million in 2009.”
On the international front, Abu Dhabi’s main source markets for hotel guests were: the UK ranking at number one with a total of 96,709 Britons taking Abu Dhabi holidays followed by the USA (67,804), India (61,241), Germany (59,667), Egypt (43,304), France (34,776), Saudi Arabia (30,717) and Italy (29,653).
Other of Abu Dhabi holidays’ outstanding performance highlights included a rise in the contribution of the Meetings, Incentive, Convention and Exhibitions (MICE) segment to the hotel guest total – up from 8% in 2008 to 10% last year.
Al Muhairi added -“We expect this sector to continue to perform well and are actively competing for business,” “Our Advantage Abu Dhabi programme is a good case in point where we are providing seed funding for business tourism events which align with our emirate’s economic vision.”
The past 12 months have also, according to Al Muhairi, been characterised by influential third party endorsements for Abu Dhabi holidays as an ideal leisure destination that had been included in the Top Ten places to visit in 2010 recommendations from leading travel guides Lonely Planet and Frommer’s.
“The overall picture is one of rapidly developing momentum,” - Al Muhairi explained.
ADTA (Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority) is now targeting a 1.65 million total of hotel guests for 2010 – a 10% rise on last year - and believes the leisure tourism segment taking Abu Dhabi holidays will play a significant role in achieving the target.
Recent Abu Dhabi hotels additions further reinforce this forecast and “have created a more competitive and better-value environment for business travellers and a more fertile ground for the next big phase in expanding our leisure tourism offering.” – He added.
More rooms are due to join Abu Dhabi hotels and accommodation stock in 2010. The emirate is currently hosting the launch of the Gary Player-designed Saadiyat Beach Golf Course and next month will see the launch of the Yas Links golf course. By the end of this year Abu Dhabi will also see the opening of the huge Ferrari World Abu Dhabi theme park – the world’s largest indoor theme park.
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